Soylent will stick with soy base ‘for now’ and experiment with flavor variety

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

"There’s always a fine line between complete nutrition and meal replacement and protein shakes." Pics: Soylent
"There’s always a fine line between complete nutrition and meal replacement and protein shakes." Pics: Soylent

Related tags Soy milk Soy protein Soy Protein Soylent

After years as an ecommerce brand associated with tech workers, Soylent is appealing to mass audiences and retail. New flavors Strawberry and Mint Chocolate indicate more diverse innovations to come.

Soylent initially launched its Strawberry in 14oz singles online, and found its positive reception made it a top three flavor. Its current campaign is an expansion to 11oz four-packs exclusively found in Target stores, which Soylent said ‘made sense’ with Strawberry’s bright packaging and Target’s iconic red branding.

The Strawberry is a permanent launch, joining flavors Vanilla and Cacao that are also available in Target stores. But through December 14, for every Strawberry four-pack sold Soylent will donate the financial equivalent of one meal to Swipe Out Hunger, a national nonprofit committed to ending college student hunger.

Retail expansion

Melody Conner, SVP of sales at Soylent, and Jamie Sullivan, director of sustainability and corporate affairs, told BeverageDaily that Soylent’s retail expansion has been a crucial part of being accessible, available and affordable to the masses, and keeping a point of interaction with consumers.

soylent mint 2

The brand partnered with Swipe Out Hunger for similar reasons, and to improve the affordability and accessibility of healthy nutrition for college students. Soylent recently developed #SoylentForGood, which has helped the brand donate more than 2 million meals to fight food insecurity.

“It has been very important to us to work with retailers in order to bring new items to consumers, allowing them to engage with our brand in new ways. This has been critical to our success as we have grown in retail,”​ Conner said.

Soylent first launched its 11 oz four-packs last year in Target and Walmart, a big part of the brand’s accessibility footprint. It also recently launched a Mint Chocolate flavor on its website and in New York retail.

It was originally planned as a limited flavor for the holidays, but after surpassing online sales expectations in the first week, Soylent decided to keep it on permanently. Conner and Sullivan said the Mint Chocolate builds on the cacao flavor with a ‘minty backnote.’

Since most protein products are made with chocolate and vanilla, they think Strawberry opens up a much broader audience, including women and Hispanics. Their most loyal customers are looking for flavor variety, so these latest innovations are giving Soylent “an opportunity to be creative and deliver product they’re looking for.”

Plant nutrition: Soy - and beyond?

The company said it will continue using soy as its main plant base and reiterates that it offers the most complete nutrition on the market. Another reason is that alternatives like pea or oat can face scaling challenges, and come at a higher cost for the consumer and the planet.

“I think as consumers learn and more comes out about misconceptions around the actual plant source nutrition, I think you’ll start to see consumers making a choice toward brands like Soylent,”​ Conner said.

And as consumers continue to want to make a positive impact on the climate, they are looking more to plant-based alternatives. Soylent recently completed a full soy lifecycle analysis, and found that it is still the most sustainable, complete protein on the plant-based market. It’s cost-effective and nutritionally dense, making it accessible and affordable to the masses.

Sullivan said, “There’s always a fine line between complete nutrition and meal replacement and protein shakes. We’re not seeing a lot of plant-based complete nutrition competition in meal replacement, but we’re seeing a variety of plant-based in protein RTD.”

Soylent isn’t ruling out different plant bases down the line, and said it is always looking into the future of food, food security, clean nutrition and cellular nutrition. It plans to evolve and innovate with new sources in the future as they come available.

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